Home to dinosaurs, mummies and live animals, this free attraction boasts collections of precious artifacts from nearby English locations and faraway cultures.
The centrally located Manchester Museum brings natural history to life for young and old alike and is ideal for keeping the family entertained on a rainy afternoon. Explore the museum’s various exhibitions across several beautiful Victorian galleries. You’ll find one of the U.K.’s largest and most important collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts, dating as far back as 10,000 B.C. There’s also a collection of Roman antiquities and other finds from Manchester and the local region.
The museum grew from the personal collection of one wealthy local manufacturer from the 19th century and became part of the Manchester Natural History Society in 1835. As more and more artifacts were donated from around the world, the museum had to upscale several times. Eventually the famous architect Alfred Waterhouse was asked to design the present-day museum building. Waterhouse also designed Manchester's Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London.
The current building has been open since 1890. Visitors often say the museum looks deceptively small from the outside. Once indoors, you’ll find everything from prehistoric fossils to live amphibians and reptiles in the award-winning vivarium. Downstairs, kids will be amazed by the enormous Tyrannosaurus rex that is about 70 million years old. They often laugh when they learn his name is Stan, after the man who found him (Stan Sacrison). The huge skeleton stands alongside a large collection of other fossils and natural history items.
There is no admission fee for the museum, but a small, voluntary donation for upkeep is appreciated. The museum is open daily, except December 24-26 and January 1. Exhibits vary; find details on the museum’s website.
Manchester Museum is centrally located on Oxford Road, near the University of Manchester. There is car parking available for a fee on nearby Booth Street West. The museum is about a 15-minute walk from Oxford Road train station and there is a free Metroshuttle bus, which services city center train stations as well as some car parks and bus stops, from Victoria station to Oxford Road.